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 Old Ghosts: Paul Durant (Skyhorse) Busted
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johnnie
Elder

US
5104 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2006 :  08:23:28 AM  Show Profile
Folks,

Worked on the Skyhorse Mohawk trial back in the '70's, the stories I could tell. Now this. Can somebody post his pic? He looks very old and he and I are about the same age. Guess pot smokin does not make you young.

Johnnie

Man fighting peyote charges back in court
Tribe members hold drum circle in support of American Indian

By Raul Hernandez, rhernandez@VenturaCountyStar.com
May 2, 2006

An American Indian and convicted felon who has had several brushes with Ventura County authorities was back in court Monday fighting peyote and other drug charges that could land him in prison for more than a decade.

Paul Skyhorse Durant of Washington state claims that the small quantity of peyote and marijuana that Ventura Police Department officers found in his car after conducting a search on Nov. 12, 2004, was being used for religious and medicinal purposes, respectively.

Lawyers for Durant were in court Monday asking Ventura County Superior Court Judge Charles McGrath to give them access to the personnel files of two Ventura officers who arrested Durant to determine whether there was police misconduct.

McGrath denied the motion, saying the officers arrested Durant only after learning that he had an outstanding misdemeanor warrant for failing to appear in court on a charge of driving under the influence.

Durant had been arrested on DUI charges on Feb. 9, 2003.

Defense attorney James Clark said in an interview that police didn't know about the outstanding warrant until after they arrested Durant, and that there are a lot of "factual errors" in the police report.

The judge set another hearing for June 9.

Durant is charged with five counts of drug and drug-related charges that could send him to prison for more than a decade, according to his other lawyer, Omar Figueroa. Durant is charged with five felonies: transportation of a controlled substance, transportation of marijuana, two counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of more than 28.5 grams of marijuana.

Durant said he is an elder and religious leader of the Native American Church, which is also known on Web sites as the peyote church. He is a member of the Ojibwe tribe in the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota, Durant said.

In 1994, Congress allowed American Indians to use, transport and possess peyote for religious purposes.

Monday, a small group from Durant's tribe, along with friends, supporters and relatives, beat a drum and chanted during a ceremony at the Ventura County Government Center. Many also attended the hearing.

Clark said Durant was parked on a street when he was awakened by police who smelled marijuana inside his vehicle. A subsequent search yielded the peyote and less than 28.5 grams of marijuana, Figueroa said.

Prosecutor Ryan Wright said Durant had 4 ounces of peyote and 46 grams of marijuana.

Wright also said Durant is being tried as a convicted felon because he has an armed robbery charge against him.

Durant and Richard Mohawk were convicted in 1994 in a Los Angeles federal court of a bank robbery in which a customer was shot and injured. Durant was sentenced to eight years and Mohawk received a 20-year sentence.

Clark and Figueroa, who are lawyers in San Francisco, said the Ventura County Public Defender's Office represented Durant, including being at his preliminary hearing July 7.

"They didn't do a lot of basic things that need to be done in a case like this," Figueroa said, adding that they have taken Durant's case on a pro bono basis.

This is the second time that Durant has been arrested over peyote.

Durant was arrested in Ventura County for possessing 250 pounds of peyote plants that were discovered after a traffic stop in 1996. However, criminal charges against him were dropped and the peyote was given to the Indian spiritual leader of the church after prosecutors determined that it was being used for religious purposes, according to prosecutor Ron Carpenter.

Durant contends that prosecutors and police are after him because he beat a murder charge, which was tried in a Los Angeles courtroom.

Durant and Mohawk were acquitted on charges that he killed a Los Angeles cabdriver near Simi Valley in 1978.

Wright said he got Durant's case two months ago so he isn't aware of Durant's criminal background or any details of the case.



Copyright 2006, Ventura County Star. All Rights Reserved.


EGO sum a tribus vir quod mos incidere vos per meus mucro.

Qui me amat, Amat et canum meam.

Redwood
Elder

2244 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2006 :  11:36:07 AM  Show Profile
Linked on Indianz.com front page today.



"If you're not a cartoon, stove gas will kill you."
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johnnie
Elder

US
5104 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2006 :  1:31:13 PM  Show Profile
Thanks Redwood,

I met Paul down in Miami at the Republican Convention in 1972. He and his girlfriend, Miqmaq as I recall, had come down there wanting to meet Dennis Banks. Banks was speaking at the anti-war rally.

We were trapped between two lines of police and there was a small gaggle of Indians just watching when they started shooting tear gas at us. That is when we joined the fight.

Later ran into Paul in California, just a few days before the killing of the cab driver mentioned in the article. Aimster folks had taken over the old Box Canyon haunt previously used by Charlie Manson and his crew before they moved to Spahn Ranch.

Heard a few days later about the killing. This event dried up Wounded Knee legal funds out of the Southern California area because the headlines were "AIM Killers," and it was a brutal killing.

But Paul and Richard were not guilty. Cab driver killing was done by a GOON guy out of Pine Ridge by the name of Marvin Red Shirt, who was at the time of the killing, or before, being paid as an informant by the FBI. Dennis, and the Bellecourts, dropped Paul and Richard like hot potatoes at the time.

Only a few of us worked on the trial but they were acquitted of the murder charges in 76 or 77.

Johnnie

EGO sum a tribus vir quod mos incidere vos per meus mucro.

Qui me amat, Amat et canum meam.
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